But given the complexity of what is happening, its no surprise that antiwar.com and its fans are burying their heads in the sand again, trying to bracket the crises in terms that suit their own narrow world view. The fate of Malians who have been subjected to medieval Taliban style barbarity while under the Islamists thumb, seems to be of no concern at all to them. Yet switch the theatre to Syria, and they can talk of little else. Reading the linked too article, I am frankly stunned by the level of churlish ignorance on display. Its broad stroke approach to the situation, and even how it describes the rebels, would be baffling if it did not so obviously serve the purpose of making visibly worn out hackery appear relevant. As an effort to stretch the usual 'one size fits all' philospohy over the current situation in Mali, it is stretched so thin its delusion is painfully transparent.
In reality France is just taking the battle to the the forces that have been attacking it, its citizens and its interests, in an effort to promote a thiests dictatorship. France should be proud to oppose such a malign movement both at home and abroad, especially if it saves the rich culture and heritage of Malians and Timboktu. That said they have taken on a problem that has been allowed to flourish in the Sahara region, and will now not easily be defeated. However I do not expect France to fight with one hand tied behind its back. From the off they have not embeded reporters with their military units, or tried to excuse necessary action to those who will refelxively oppose everything that happens to involve the west.
Reading between the lines of recent French government statements, its seems the French realise that they have gone into Mali a little unprepared. Despite an imminent influx of troops from neighbouring countries, I suspect they will need more French troops and equipment on the ground. Regional forces just will not be able to cut it, and French forces, for all their know how and professionalism, are not the US military with its astonishing support network and firepower. French military capability may be severly tested. The question is how many more countries will the conflict spill over into, given the Islamists have already used Mauritania as a point of entry into Mali to launch counter attacks?